Maternity care restrictions harming mental health of expectant mothers 4 months ago

Maternity care restrictions harming mental health of expectant mothers

Campaigners continue to call for further easing of maternity hospital restrictions.

The Psychological Society of Ireland has said that restrictions on partner visits in maternity hospitals are having a negative effect on the mental health of expectant mothers.

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The group, which represents 3,500 psychologists, released a statement yesterday highlighting the psychological impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

The PSI spoke about the positive effect partner support can have on the mental health of the mother. They encouraged a further easing of restrictions on partners in Irish maternity hospitals.

In the report, the group found that women's anxiety levels have been "exacerbated" by the impact of Covid-19 restrictions:

"Birthing partners provide vital emotional and physical support for women in the hospital environment during scans and appointments, as well as during labour."

The PSI identified some "common themes" in perinatal mental health, including "lack of social support" and "feelings of loss of control".

Last month, maternity hospitals in Ireland began to ease some of their restrictions regarding partners of expectant mothers.

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However, many campaigners have highlighted the importance of partner support throughout all stages of pregnancy and birth.

Yesterday, an online protest organised by AIMS Ireland took place to draw attention to the issue.

The group's chair, Krysia Lynch said: "In the absence of leadership from the minister and the HSE, the only way forward is for more people to publicly draw attention to this crisis for birthing people in Ireland."

Earlier this week, the Taoiseach told the Dáil that he would continue engaging with the HSE on the matter.

Micheál Martin called for "national uniformity" on visiting policy throughout the country's maternity hospitals. He added that he was "very supportive of the need for women to be accompanied by their partners."

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Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that pregnant people are "concerned and disappointed" by the current policy.